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Kiwi Battler Plunket Line Finally Loses Its Battle

Kiwi Battler Plunket Line Finally Loses Its Battle

Monday 26 Jul 2004 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

No matter how Health Minister Annette King tries to spin it, Plunket Line's absorption into the Health Ministry's Healthline will see the end of this invaluable and hugely popular service, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"This popular and respected service has been invaluable - despite being plagued by financial woes - to hundreds of thousands of Kiwi parents, who have relied heavily on its advice while general Plunket services have been progressively down-graded," Mrs Roy said.

"Today, the Minister has tried to claim everything would be business as usual for Plunket Line - perhaps even better. This is rubbish. The fact is that Plunket Line will die. Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions show that, while Plunket Line will keep its 0800 number at first, the Government's intention is to incorporate it totally into its own Healthline and the 0800 number - along with Plunket Line's identity - will go.

"Direct access for worried parents to qualified child health professionals will be gone. They will have to join the queues of those worried about heart attacks, mental illness and any number of medical problems. In dealing with this vast number of calls, time will be of the essence to Healthline.

"Many calls to Plunket Line are complex, and the true problem often does not manifest itself until late in the consultation - or may not at all if parents aren't given the time they need to properly explain the issue.

"No matter which way you look at it, this move will kill Plunket Line. Ms King knows for a fact that Plunket Line is the best option for parents - after all, she and Prime Minister Helen Clark campaigned hard to save it when they wanted the votes of young families.

"Now it is too late. Parents and children will suffer, and all so that Labour can indulge its craving for State control. Another Kiwi battler bites the dust," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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